Home Business News Starmer’s comments over Bangladeshi migrants ‘not intended to cause offense’

Starmer’s comments over Bangladeshi migrants ‘not intended to cause offense’

27th Jun 24 3:11 pm

The Labour leader has said that his comment over Bangladeshi migrants was “not intended to cause offense.”

Sir Keir Starmer said in a live interview with The Sun on Monday evening, “At the moment people coming from countries like Bangladesh are not being removed because they’re not being processed.”

Some MPs who have large Muslim constituencies have now distanced themselves from Sir Keir over his remarks.

On Wednesday, Tower Hamlets councillor Sabina Akhtar, the deputy leader of the local Labour group.

“I was a proud Labour party member, but I find I cannot be proud of this party anymore when the leader singles out my community and insults my Bangladeshi identity,” she said in a statement.

The Labour leader, said in the interview, “The number of people being returned to where they came from has dropped off by 44% under this government.

“On the first few days of government, I’ll tell you what I do, I’ll put the staff back in the returns unit, I’ll make sure I’ve got planes going off, not to Rwanda because that’s an expensive gimmick.”

Sir Keir was asked where Labour will deport the migrants, he said, “They will go back to the countries where people come from. That’s what used to happen,” he then used Bangladesh as an example.

On Thursday the Labour leader insisted he was not intending to cause offense, he told reporters, “They’ve made a massive contribution to our economy, to our culture and to our country. That’s why there’s always been a longstanding and strong relationship between Labour and the Bangladeshi community here.

“It’s why my first trip as a Labour MP was to Bangladesh, where I saw for myself the strength of the country, the hospitality and warmth of the country. I’ve got many Bangladeshi constituents in my own constituency who I’ve been working with for many years, and I want to build on that in government.”

He added, “The reference in the debate the other day was an example of a country that is considered safe as far as asylum is concerned, and one of the countries that’s actually got a returns agreement with us, and that is actually a good thing where both we and Bangladesh can be proud of.

“I certainly wasn’t intending to cause any concern or offense to any Bangladeshi community here.”

Leader of Tower Hamlets Labour councillor, Sirajul Islam, said, “I reject the comments made over the last two days regarding Bangladeshis in the UK.

“Anti-migrant sentiment is on the rise across Europe and the Labour party should not be seeking to scapegoat any migrant communities let alone one such as the Bangladeshi community, who have made an enormous contribution to British life.

“Our residents are incredibly concerned about these comments, as are hundreds of our members and activists who are currently campaigning hard to deliver a Labour government.

“The Labour Party has always been the political home of Bangladeshis and we should be proud that seven brilliant British Bangladeshis are standing for Labour in this election.

“This is the only way Labour should be talking about Bangladeshis. I hope this will soon be corrected.”

A Labour spokesman said, “Keir has proudly supported the Bangladeshi community across the UK, who make an enormous contribution to our country.

“This clip has been edited to make it look as though Keir Starmer is suggesting repatriation of British Bangladeshis. It is misinformation.

“In fact, Keir is referring to Labour’s long established policy of returning those who don’t have the legal right to be in the UK to safe countries. Bangladesh was only used as an example, as there is already a bilateral agreement between the two countries.”

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